Shutdown Furloughs Aviation Safety Inspectors

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RENO, Nev.--The government shutdown could be making air travel a little less safe. Hundreds of flight standards offices across the nation have come to a standstill as thousands of workers remain on furlough.

For the most part the Reno-Tahoe Airport is running smoothly. TSA Agents remain on the job and Air Traffic Controllers continue to work, but it's the federal agency that inspects planes and makes sure they are fit for the sky that's not operating after the shutdown.

Across the nation flights continue to take off, but FAA officials told KOLO 8 the Aviation Safety Organization's staff of 7,000 is reduced to 310.

A stalemate in Congress has left their positions unfunded. Only roles considered essential within the FAA are working through the government shutdown.

The workers are usually tasked with accident investigations or certifying pilots, generally non-essential roles. They also inspect the airworthiness of private and commercial planes, especially after a major repair.

Major repairs are not done to planes at the Reno-Tahoe Airport, but these inspectors are furloughed at most airports across the nation.

So how long can we go without their services? That's hard to tell. Everyone who would normally answer those questions is also furloughed.

An FAA spokesperson said in an email Wednesday, "If the furlough extends longer than a few days...we will begin to recall...employees"